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Blumhouse Halloween: True Sequel or H20 Remake?

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We’ve been doing a lot of reporting on the upcoming Blumhouse sequel to John Carpenter’s original classic Halloween. So far we know that the new film will be co-written by Danny McBride and David Gordon Green, and on top of that, we heard a few months back that Jamie Lee Curtis will be returning to the series as her classic character Laurie Strode.

Not only that but we learned that in this new film, Laurie will have a daughter played by Judy Greer. We also know that the film will be a direct sequel to Carpenter’s original 1978 classic, and we know that the new film will change the ending of the original film. If only “slightly.”

It’s with all of this talk about the new film being the true sequel to the original Halloween, and the casting of Jamie Lee Curtis and Judy Greer, that a question pops up into my head; did everyone involved with this new film just forget about Halloween: H20?

I wouldn’t blame them if they did. But all perceived cynicism aside, let’s talk a bit about the upcoming Halloween (2018) and see if we can decipher if the new film will be the true heir apparent sequel to John Carpenter’s Halloween… Or merely a remake of Halloween: H20.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

First, I want to say that I’m excited about the new film. McBride has been dropping updates all over the place and his comments have rubbed me the right way, especially his recent comments about how the new film will return to the “tension and dread” of Carpenter’s film, and side-step the “violence and ultra-gore” of some of the other sequels.

Basically, I’m all in for McBride and Green’s Halloween. But why is no one mentioning Halloween: H20? Sure, McBride and Green’s intentions are pure enough, but didn’t we already get the “true sequel” to Halloween back in the 90’s? One that included the return of Jamie Lee Curtis, and her child. Yes, we did. And while H20 wasn’t terrible, what do the new filmmakers plan to do differently? What makes this more than a remake of a sequel?

For starters, it seems as if they are going to a more adult story this time around, which is interesting. Instead of casting a teenager (or a 30-year-old playing a teenager) like Josh Harnett in H20, this new film cast Judy Greer as the child of Laurie Strode. What this seems to indicate is that McBride and Green aren’t interested in making a straight slasher movie.

Instead of making Strode’s daughter a teenager – like they did in H20 – they are opening the door to more adult matters. H20 made Josh Harnett a younger character so they could cast a bunch of young hot teens as his friends, thus making a typical teen slasher out of the Halloween franchise. Blumhouse’s Halloween seems to be taking a more mature route.

Now I understand the reasoning for the teen casting of Josh Harnett in H20. It made sense for Jamie Lee Curtis’ age at the time. Sure, they could have cast someone a bit younger, or a bit older, but age was a factor in the casting and writing of H20. Same with this new Halloween.

Jamie Lee Curtis couldn’t really have a teenage child in this new entry, could she? I guess if it was an adoption and/or they changed the timeline to be a few decades earlier, sure. But Jamie Lee is, truthfully, old enough to have an adult daughter at this point. So let’s go with that, McBride and Green must have reasoned. Sounds good to me.

But how will this new plot work? Let’s look at the major clue we know thus far. The film will act as if none of the other sequels – including Halloween 2 – existed. And you want to know something interesting about that? This means in Blumhouse’s Halloween, Laurie Strode DOES NOT have to be Michael Myers’ sister. Crazy, I know, but stick with me here.

It was only in the sequel, written by Carpenter and Debra Hill, that we are given the twist that Michael and Laurie are brother and sister. This connection does not exist in the original film. Retroactively it makes sense sure; this is why Michel came back to Haddonfield, this is why he set out after Laurie. But the baseline fact is that if the rest of the Halloween movies NEVER existed – the Michael and Laurie sibling connection would NOT EXIST.

Sure it might be something Carpenter and Hill mentioned later in the years, and it would probably be the subject of many YouTube Fan Theory videos. But if there were John Carpenter’s Halloween and John Carpenter’s Halloween only, Laurie is merely another teenage girl in Michael’s path that Halloween night. Nothing more.

Maybe what McBride meant by “changing the ending of the original film slightly” might have to do with Laurie finding out that she was Michael Myers’ sister. This would get the twist back out there and back into canon without having to retread the hospital massacre from Halloween 2. Let’s say they do that. And then let’s say that they don’t…

Chances are they will. To remove the family connection from the Halloween series might be too much for some. That said, we’ll dive into what it could mean if Laurie and Michel aren’t related more in-depth below. But for now, let’s focus on the version where McBride and Green keep the family ties.

Let’s start at the beginning. Or the end, actually. The original film ends and now this new film will jump forward in time with Laurie now has an adult daughter played by Judy Greer. But why does Michael Myers, after all this time, choose this Halloween to return?

Maybe it is because – you guessed it – Judy Greer’s character is pregnant. Or maybe she just had a baby. Point is, Micheal has returned because of this new blood. Why didn’t he return when Judy Greer was born? I have no idea. Maybe he did. We’ll see.

But more than likely Judy Greer being pregnant or having a baby is going to be the crux of the new film’s plot. Maybe it will even go like this: her son is now the age Michael was when he killed Judith all those years ago. Ooooh, that sounds about right, right? This is a fresh idea. Sure the Jamie Lloyd arch trod this ground, but to have THE Laurie Strode in on the game of “will he or won’t he go bad?” is a killer premise.

To sidetrack a bit here, let me ask: Does Judy Greer know about her mother’s past? This is another issue. If she doesn’t, and Laurie changed her name following the events of that Halloween back in 1978, then we are treading on H20 remake territory again.

So let’s say to distance themselves, the new filmmakers decide to make Greer aware of what happened to her mother. This could make for some very interesting material. Greer growing up in a household with a famous final girl. Maybe Curtis became a minor celeb for her brush with death incarnate. Could be interesting.

Anyhow, this means Greer is aware of her mother’s past and she is aware of the connection she – and her child – have with the notorious Michel Myers. Her son, as of this Halloween, is Michael Myer’s age when he stabbed Judith to absolute death. And grandma is keeping a close eye on the boy…

Perhaps Grandma is watching too close. It’s making Greer nervous. And as Jamie Lee Curtis begins to fall further and further into the Polanski rabbit hole of “Is he or isn’t he?” she starts seeing signs of Michael’s return. He’s in the backyard, he’s in the bushes, he’s outside the windows. He is getting closer. Never moving. But always closer. But when Laurie investigates, he is always gone. Just like in the original. He’s a ghost. Poof.

But here we have the added element: what if Michael is just in Laurie’s imagination? Sure they could go the route that Laurie is Michael’s sister and thus could be turning evil herself. But this is a well played-out scenario. Let’s hope they only mention this in passing in the new film. Laurie and those close to her can be worried that the evil is dormant in herself, but let’s not dig too deep. We’ve been down this road before.

Instead, let’s focus on the theme of “What do we pass along to our children?” Can we, in fact, pass on crazy? Sure we can. How about evil? Possibly. How about hauntings? Brr… And just like any trait, maybe it can skip a generation. And thus Greer’s child could be the new evil incarnate.

This is a way the new film can side-step being merely a remake of Halloween: H20. But not the best way. Think about this: what if there isn’t the family connection in this new film? This I believe is what could make the film not only the true sequel to the original Carpenter classic but a fresh take on the Halloween franchise from the inside out. Here Michael Myers isn’t a slasher that stalks members of his family. Or his family home.

All of this motivation was planted in the sequels. Only the sequels gave motive to Myers. The original proved we don’t need Myers to have a motive. Don’t we agree that Michael Myers is the shark from Jaws, prowling the night, setting his sights on someone and then heading toward them with blind bloodlust is a much scarier idea than an older brother looking to murder members of his family?

Not that Michael Myers as the crazy older brother doesn’t work as a plot. It’s just that we have seen that version time and time again. In fact, every film in the series has been that. Other than the original classic. Other than, debatably, the only truly terrifying entry in the series. Sense the connection?

After all, adding the family element to the franchise is one of the major elements that negated the tension, dread and primal fear of the original film. The terror that it could happen to you. Michael Myers could be walking down your street right this minute. For no reason at all. Once we found out that Michael was after Laurie, and then later Jamie Lloyd, and then Laurie again in Rob Zombie’s films, we lost that bit of primal fear.

Subconsciously we all knew that as long as we didn’t have Michel Myers in our family tree we were now safe from his knife in the night. And as long as we checked the family histories of our friends, spouses, and neighbors while we were at it. After all, you don’t have to be related to Myers for him to super-kill you. Merely being in the same proximity to one of his relative is means for instant death as well.

But all jokes aside, you see what I’m getting at. By removing the family connection the film will be rewarded with the primal fear: It. Could. Happen. To. You. Twice. But what are the chances that Myers would find Jamie Lee again? Well, it’s not like it didn’t take him 40 f*cking years to do so, right?

And speaking of which, Michael Myers was, what, 21 when he went on his rampage back in 1978? So this new film taking place in 2018 (we assume) means that under the mask, Myers is now 61 years old… Interesting… I don’t quite know what to make of that, but considering Myers wears a mask all the time, imagining a 60-year-old man underneath is even creepier in my opinion.

But that’s not the point. Michael finds Laurie again because it is fate. It is Laurie’s destiny. No brother. Just blind, horrible luck and fate. Carpenter laid all of this out in the original film. Let me reset the scene for you. Laurie daydreams in class. We move slowly across the room towards her. She sits in the back of the classroom. In the background, an unseen adult (a teacher) drones on about fate. Let’s look at this a bit more in-depth.

The teacher says, “Fate caught up with several lives here. No matter what course of action Collin’s took, he was destined to his own fate. His own day of reckoning.” Creepy music begins. Laurie looks out the window and sees Michael for the first time. In the background, the teacher drones onward. “The idea is that destiny is a very real, concrete thing that every person has to deal with.” She then asks Laurie to elaborate.

“Costain wrote that fate was somehow only related to religion,” Laurie replies. “Whereas Samuels felt that fate was like a natural element, like Earth, air, fire, and water.” The teacher then finishes the scene off by saying, “Fate never changes.”  

That should be the new film’s tagline.

This is how I believe Blumhouse’s new Halloween film can be the true sequel to John Carpenter’s original Halloween, and not just a remake of Halloween: H20. Respectfully remove the family connection. Return Myers to the random great white shark he was in the original. Sure, the Laurie connection is a bit of a stretch, but Michael’s return was foreshowed in Carpenter’s original.

In the end, whichever direction McBride and Green choose to take their new Halloween movie, I have faith they will do it justice. Green is an utterly fantastic filmmaker and knows the art of the understated. Add a new/revisited score by John Carpenter himself, and here’s hoping Halloween (2018) is the true sequel we have all been waiting for.

Will Blumhouse’s Halloween be the true sequel to John Carpenter’s original film? Or merely a disguised remake of Halloween H20? What do you think? Let us know below!

Halloween hits theaters October 19, 2018.

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Brennan Went To Film School

Brennan Went to Film School: Unlocking the Hidden Meaning in Insidious: The Last Key

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“Brennan Went to Film School” is a column that proves that horror has just as much to say about the world as your average Oscar nominee. Probably more, if we’re being honest.

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS DETAILED SPOILERS FOR INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

Blumhouse had quite a year last year, didn’t they? In addition to having three number one hits on their hands, the racial satire Get Out is their first horror entry to get awards traction thanks to its deeper themes. Now that everyone is starting to take the company and its work a little more seriously, it’s time to bring out the big guns and dive right into some deeper analysis into a much more unlikely subject: Insidious: The Last Key. The fourth entry in their tentpole haunted house franchise might not seem like it at first glance, but it’s the Get Out of the Me Too era, telling a story of women’s struggles while predicting the downfall of powerful, abusive men that started to occur during its production process with eerie accuracy.

No, seriously. Let’s start by taking a look at the villain. Unusually for this franchise, the baddies are both paranormal and human: halfway through the film it is revealed that the haunting victim who has called Lin Shaye’s Elise and her crew is also a sadistic killer who has chained up a woman in his basement. This is also revealed to be the very same thing Elise’s father did many decades before. The film implies that both men are being influenced by the key-wielding demon that inhabits the house.

Key imagery is very important to the film as a whole (I mean come on, it’s literally in the freakin’ title), and its themes of Elise arriving to her childhood home to unlock the secrets of her past. But there’s more than one meaning to that imagery, and understanding those meanings is the key to unlocking the subtext of the film, if you’ll allow me a really obvious pun.


The demon KeyFace might be influencing the men, but they’re still receptive to the idea. That’s because he’s awakening something that was already inside them. Keyface represents the pure male id; the unconscious, animalistic desires and drives that lay buried in the psyche. He’s not forcing them to behave in this way, he’s just unlocking their darker impulses.

It’s no coincidence that the demon’s lair is the bomb shelter basement. The house has now become a road map of her father’s mind, with his strongest emotions (and the literal place where he keeps his abused women secreted away) hidden in a sublevel that isn’t visible from the surface. This is the very same basement where he locked up Elise while punishing her for insisting that her visions were real. He wanted her to keep her psychic gifts locked away, probably so she wouldn’t discover his own submerged secrets.

Elise encounters a variety of keys during her journey that allow her to penetrate deeper and deeper into The Further, the house, her past, and the hideous truth about the men in her life. These keys unlock doors, suitcases, chains, and cages, but the most important unlocks the truth… and turns the attention of the evil upon her and her two nieces.

The probing of these women ignites the fury of Keyface and he takes her niece Melissa into the basement (another buried sublevel that must be unlocked), inserting a key into her neck and rendering her mute, then stealing her soul with a second key plunged into her heart. He is only vanquished when Elise and her other niece Imogen team together and use a family heirloom – a whistle – to summon Elise’s mother’s spirit.

On the surface, this seems like an inspiring story of three generations of women helping each other to face a great evil. This is certainly true, but now we have the key to understanding exactly what’s happening here. When a young woman discovers the abuse being perpetrated in her house, the figure of pure, wicked male desire literally steals her voice, silencing her. In order to restore that voice, another woman who knows the truth must very literally become a whistleblower.

…Did I just blow your mind?

At its heart, Insidious: The Last Key presents a world where women must rely on other women to provide them a voice and their very survival in a world dominated by powerful men and their ugly, dirty secrets. Secrets that they will do anything to keep locked away. There may be slightly more ghosts in Insidious than in real life, but that’s a frighteningly close parallel with the ugliness currently being revealed in Hollywood – as well as the world at large. It probably won’t tear up the Golden Globes next year, but this film is just the next important stepping-stone after Get Out in Blumhouse’s use of the genre to dig deep into the real life horrors plaguing our society.


Brennan Klein is a writer and podcaster who talks horror movies every chance he gets. And when you’re talking to him about something else, he’s probably thinking about horror movies. On his blog, Popcorn Culture, he is running through reviews of every slasher film of the 1980’s, and on his podcast, Scream 101, he and a non-horror nerd co-host tackle horror reviews with a new sub-genre every month!


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The Evil Dead Trilogy Cuts a 72-Minute Super Cut in Black and White

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Evil Dead Ash

While we wait on pins and needles for the third season of STARZ’s “Ash vs Evil Dead” to hit airwaves in February, we can take a moment to appreciate the original trilogy that led us to this incredible show. Starting in 1981, Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead, which Stephen King hailed as, “The most ferociously original horror film of the year,” began the journey of Bruce Campbell’s Ash Williams, an everyday kinda guy who gets caught up in a battle with demonic entities known as Deadites. Packed with humor, gore, and scares, the Evil Dead series has since become a cult classic and is a gem in the horror community.

Jorge Torres-Torres decided to pay his respects to the Evil Dead trilogy by creating Evil Dead Revision, where he took the first films and revised them, “…into a 72 minute, black & white ballet of gore.

If you need to catch up on the foundations of the Evil Dead universe before the return of “Ash vs Evil Dead”, this seems like a great place to start! Oh, and then make sure to binge the show on Netflix.

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There’s Drama in the Dark Room in this Restored Cat o’ Nine Tails Clip

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The Cat o' Nine Tails Dario Argento

The Cat o' Nine Tails UK Blu-ray Sleeve

Dario Argento’s 1971 classic The Cat o’ Nine Tails is set to whip its way onto a limited edition UK Blu-ray release on January 29, courtesy of Arrow Video.

To celebrate the release, which comes sporting a brand new 4K restoration from the original camera negative, plus an impressive stack of extras (see below for the list), here’s an exclusive clip featuring some of that old Argento giallo goodness we all know, love… and sadly miss.

Extras on this Arrow Video release include:

  • New audio commentary by critics Alan Jones and Kim Newman
  • New interviews with co-writer/director Dario Argento, co-writer Dardano Sacchetti, actress Cinzia De Carolis and production manager Angelo Iacono
  • Script pages for the lost original ending, translated into English for the first time
  • Original Italian and international theatrical trailers
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Candice Tripp
  • Double-sided fold-out poster
  • 4 lobby card reproductions
  • Limited edition booklet illustrated by Matt Griffin, featuring an essay on the film by Dario Argento, and new writing by Barry Forshaw, Troy Howarth and Howard Hughes

 
Synopsis:
When a break-in occurs at a secretive genetics institute, blind puzzle-maker Franco Arnò, who overheard an attempt to blackmail one of the institute’s scientists shortly before the robbery, teams up with intrepid reporter Carlo Giordani to crack the case. But before long the bodies begin to pile up and the two amateur sleuths find their own lives imperilled in their search for the truth. And worse still, Lori, Franco’s young niece, may also be in the killer’s sights…

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